A-Z Book List: L for Ladies

Do you have a separate coupe/compartment in your trains for ladies only? We do have it here. I was once a very frequent traveller in those compartments. They are unreserved compartments which means you can buy ticket when you are travelling and just get in. I have so many funny and interesting experiences travelling in those compartments. It can be really very informative and can give you so many ideas and stories, if only you keep your ears open 😉

The book for today is based on one such experience, even though it is fictional.

Name: Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

Genre: Drama, Fiction, Contemporary, Indian Literature

One woman gets into the ladies coupe (in a South Indian train, of course) on her way to Kanyakumari. She is running away (from her life, from her problems…etc…) There she strikes a conversation with 5 other women. Each of them share their own story and their own journey. Each of them have their own destinations also. But how their interaction and their stories impact her and her decisions is what Ladies Coupe is all about. I had written a review in my other blog (which isn’t functional anymore). This is what I had to say about this book.

Well as far as the stories go, if you have seen enough of KB’s (a Tamil Director who takes more off beat subjects) movies, read enough of Jayakandhan or Lakshmi’s Tamil novels, well these dont surprise you a lot. But with respect to writing, the flow was nice and smooth. Even though there were 6 stories altogether, you wouldnt be confused. You exactly know who was saying what and every thing had a perfect start and a perfect end. If you are woman, you can identify with each character, because you might have known them as yourself or as your sister, or your relative or your friend or your mom etc etc.. any woman you would know in your life. That is where she (the writer, I mean) scores. The vocabulary isnt too hard either. You can see a perfect control over the words and the phrases in some places.

Would say: Read it once atleast, if you are a woman.

I don’t think I can say anything more than this on this book. I gave it 4 stars in Goodreads.

PS: Check out the rest of the A-Z Book list here

Little Gray Cells in Action

After ‘Death in Paradise’, I needed something else to keep me engaged in my weekends and if it was a detective series, the merrier. After a lot of thought, I decided to go back to the good old Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Do you remember the old TV series that used to come, where a cute stout fellow played Poirot? My friend gave me his name, David Suchet. I remembered his face but not this name 😦 He has a very cute mustache doesn’t he!

I have always loved those episodes. But I don’t remember when I stopped watching them. I don’t even remember the season I used to watch earlier. That is clearly a sign that I should start on them again isn’t? Finally got hold of all the seasons and started to watch them one by one. So far I have completed one season and have just started the 2nd season. It is so much pleasure to watch the ‘little gray cells’ in action. I love the small quirks, the friendly banter between Hastings and Poirot, the love-hate relationship between Poirot and Japp and Ms. Lemon with her cute curls. I think I am set for a month or two with these episodes. And Mr. Hercule Poirot never disappoints 🙂

“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.” ~ Poirot”
― Agatha Christie

Man and Boy

Got this book, Man and Boy by Tony Parsons, from a book shop named Paperback in Bangalore, when I had been there to meet a friend. It was on a discount sale and did cost me around 150Rupees only. When I read the blurb, I was so captivated by it, I took it immediately. And I am glad I did. I have been savoring this story for a while now. The writing is so awesome, that I am so in love with it. Its so real that it hurts sometimes. It is also interlaced with humor that you find yourself smiling and laughing at very odd situations. It is placed under the genre of Chick Lit !? Really? I haven’t read Kramer vs Kramer so I can’t compare or anything, except that I really loved this book and glad that I got a paperback at Paperback 🙂

Especially with the mood I have been in recently, and the story also going in parallel, I had to read about a death, again of that of a father, and the impact of it on the people left out. But for some reason, I felt good reading about it.  It sort of tells you that its something that everyone go through. In this story too, there is this 5 year old kid (my nephew is 4 years) who loses his grandpa and is trying to come to terms with it. Its a story of a man becoming a father to his son and a son to his father and finally understanding what it all means. It was so heart warming. It makes you think of the relationship you have with your father. And also that of all the kids whose parents fight for their residency (not custody)

I am not going to go in depth with the story or anything. I gave a 5 star in good reads for this book. I just loved it so much. No wonder I took my time with it (its been more than two weeks since I started it I think). I thought the end was a bit cliched but still, that’s perfectly fine. I like my happy endings, even if I am not sure of its ‘ever after’ in this.


This Sunday, went to the newly released Tamil Movie ‘O Kadal Kanmani‘. This isn’t about my views on the movie, although I should say that I was impressed by the storyline and liked the movie a lot. Good music, very good background score, handsome hero, beautiful and expressive heroine, understanding old couple… It had its moments of cliche’s and unwanted scenes, but overall was a breezy and nice romantic drama. This isn’t the first movie to talk about live-in relationships. There was a Thriller called ‘Pizza’ which had a small plot but since it wasn’t very important to the main story line, it got breezed over. But this being the romantic drama, the story revolved around that and also about Alzheimer’s of an older couple. It reminded me of the movie ‘Away from Her‘, which is so amazing and so heart wrenching.

Incidentally, just a week before, even before I knew the plot of this movie, one of my friend was coercing me , as usual, to get ‘settled’ in life a.k.a get married again. He is a little conservative in his opinions and beliefs. So when we ended up talking about marriage and live in relationships, he told me that it wouldn’t suit our culture. I told him that I ain’t as worried about the culture as I am worried about my comfortability with it. He wasn’t convinced, as usual 🙂 Having grown up in a conservative and orthodox family, until I started work, I had no clue as to what live-in relationship really meant. But then once I started work, and got to know about the outer world, I should say I was a little surprised, but then as long as people involved are happy and content, it is fair and OK with me. Once, a young girl in my hostel came to me and asked me what I thought about live-in relationships. I had no clue as to how to answer her, because  she sort of looked up to me and I didn’t want to be in a position to guide her in these matters, when I wasn’t sure what it entailed. This society being a patriarchal society even now, I had heard of cases where the women were the ones who end up being emotionally hurt (not to mention in some cases where the physical hurt was also involved) in such relationships. Not until 2005, cohabitation or live in relationships were even recognized. I told her that as long as the people involved were strong enough to handle the ups and downs of it as it would be in any relationship, it is fine with me.

There is a line in the movie, where the hero’s sister in law sort of interrogates the heroine suspecting something and when she is confronted, the heroine agrees to their living arrangement. So the sister in law asks if they were gonna get married. For which the heroine asks how does a marriage certificate would change anything at all with the way they live. Finally they do get married for a different reason, but that is entirely their prerogative and not because they wanted to prove something to the elders, who didnt understand their live in arrangement. Where do I stand with these kind of relationships? I don’t think I would mind a live in relationship to be with someone whom I like and can actually see a future with, if not forever at least a few years. If that has to be sealed, signed and delivered, for all practical and legal purposes through a marriage, then that is the path the relationship should go through. Does a marriage certificate really change the relationship ? I would say, yes, it does to some extent. It gives it a legal binding and we are emotionally attached to it so some extent. Some people need that kind of grounding and trust that comes with it. But not all.  I believe emotionally , it doesn’t matter. Until the emotional attachment between the people involved is strong and alive, the paper binding holds good and has value. Else…

I am glad that such topics are being handled in the mainstream Tamil movie and making people at least start talking about it, rather than in hushed tones.

Pride – Colorful

I am in a writing mode today. Just completed cataloging down my recent travel. Since I am in the flow, let me finish off with the movie I watched today. Pride (2014), a movie I was supposed to watch with a couple of my friends, but then I was feeling too sick (flu and fever) and I needed some cheer me up. First and foremost, I just loved the movie. Just loved it. The Wikipedia doesn’t say much about the movie and its story line. So here it is for you. But before that Spoiler Alert 🙂

There is a group of Lesbian and Gay activists headed by Mark who collect money to support the Miners strike in Britain in 1984. Not many among the LGBT group wanted to support this cause of collecting money for Miners because they have enough problems to solve like fighting for their own rights. But then this small bunch go ahead and call themselves LGSM (Lesbian and Gay support the miners) group and collect enough and try to find someone to donate it to. No one wants to be associated with the LGBT group, except for one small town who thought that L stood for London 😉 When the committee member finally meets them, he is quite surprised but is also very accepting and thanks them for their efforts and invites them to the small town of Onllwyn. This town is surprised to see them as they are surprised by the welcome of some members of the town who are very supportive and appreciative of their efforts. They have difficulty in getting through some members who are totally against them. But then slowly they gain the confidence of the people and keep helping them even though each of them have their own set of problems to address (for e.g. one of them isn’t out to his parents and keeps his association with the LGBT community a secret). Even though they lost the miners fight , they realize that their coming together as a union is the biggest achievement of all. And the miners union comes to their help when this group needs their support.

It is a very heart warming story which finally made me shed some tears. The concept of shaking hands symbol which is used by the Union is strongly emphasized in this movie at all places. You help me ; I help you, no matter who you are. That message is conveyed throughout and done very well too. There is a line which Dai says when he talks in the Gay bar ‘When you’re in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, well, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, well, that’s the best feeling in the world.’ I liked that. It is not just about Lesbians or Gay’s. It is about being who you are and owning it up and living it. Mark says in a scene to Jonathan that instead of running away from himself and his parents, he should face them because life is too short. The old people of Onllwyn are so cute 🙂 especially Dolores Umbridge, oops sorry, Imelda Staunton. They have some of the funniest moments in this movie. She reminded me of Lady D in the Julia Quinn’s book series ‘The Bridgertons’. The messages that they convey through some brilliant lines are very subtle interlaced with humor. There is a political agenda mixed too but I am not that interested in that angle anyways.

All in all, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel good and it made me feel positive. A definite must watch.